submitted by Sharon Brewer
While many people take their 401(k) for granted, according to Bloomberg, only half of U.S. employees have access to a company-sponsored retirement plan. Freelancers and small business owners, in particular, rarely have pensions unless those benefits come from a previous job. However, not having a 401(k) is no excuse for neglecting retirement planning. These four suggestions can help you prepare for your future:
Start an IRA
Similar to a traditional 401(k), you can withhold pre-taxed income and fund an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). You can set aside up to $5,500, and after 50, you can invest up to $6,500. In addition, if you're married, you and your spouse can each save up to $5,500, even if only one of you works.
Start a Roth IRA
Similar to an IRA, a Roth IRA is an individually funded retirement account. However, unlike an IRA, you fund the account with after-tax income. However, future withdrawals, assuming you're over 59 and the account is at least 5 years old, are tax free.
Start a small business retirement savings plan
If you're self-employed or are a small-business owner, there are unique strategies available to you for retirement planning. You may be able to fund a SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA or a Self-Employed 401(k). The amount you want to contribute and the size of your business will inform your decision. You can also check out www.goodwinSEA.com for more information on saving for retirement if you're self-employed.
Saving your tax refund
Instead of using a tax refund like a Christmas bonus, save it for the future. While not everyone has the flexibility to do so, if you can save it, you should. Remember, a thrifty holiday season this year makes it possible to be generous in the future. You can even instruct the IRS to directly deposit it into a saving accounts, including an IRA.
Saving for retirement takes time, so the sooner you start, the better. Unfortunately, a lot of people never do start, partly because saving for the "future" seems unnecessary while they're living in the "present." If you're feeling behind on retirement planning, consider talking to an expert about how you can get back on track. For people living in the greater Atlanta area, you can schedule a meeting with one of our advisors today to begin that conversation.